A global green agreement – CGTN


Editor’s Note: Decision Makers is a global platform for decision makers to share their perspectives on the events shaping the world today. Ursula von der Leyen is the President of the European Commission. Werner Hoyer is the President of the European Investment Bank. The article reflects the opinions of the authors and not necessarily those of the CGTN.

In Europe, we have heard the warnings about climate change. We know that if our industrial, energy, transportation and food systems don’t change, we could face a catastrophic temperature rise of more than three degrees Celsius this century.

As we approach the end of 2020 – the hottest year on record in Europe – we, the members of the European Union, have taken a collective decision to reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 55% from 1990 levels by 2030. The European Commission is now following through this commitment with concrete policy changes, and the European Investment Bank is supporting the effort with its financial might.

The current decade is a watershed moment for our planet. To face the immediate challenges that await us, our two organizations are convening governments, international institutions and investors on March 24, 2021 for a historic event: “Investing in climate action”.

The event will bring together world leaders to share their plans to implement the necessary policies in their countries and ensure international coordination. And it will seek to help investors and business leaders improve their understanding of the political environment in which they will operate for at least the next decade.

Climate action requires far-reaching structural change and massive levels of investment around the world. In Europe alone, meeting the new emissions reduction target by 2030 will require around 350 billion euros ($ 417 billion) in additional investment per year. However, this figure is paltry compared to the costs of doing nothing.

To meet the investment challenge, the EIB, the world’s largest multilateral lender, has become the European Climate Bank, aligning all of its activities with the objectives set out in the Paris Agreement. Among other things, the EIB has pledged to support EUR 1 trillion ($ 1.2 trillion) of investments in climate action and environmental sustainability over the next decade.

But funding alone will not get us where we need to go. We also need a roadmap, which is why the European Commission presented the European Green Deal in December 2019. As Europe’s new growth strategy, it aims to transform the EU into a society fairer and more prosperous by guiding the transition to a more resource efficient society. , competitive economy. Ultimately, the goal is to achieve zero net GHG emissions by 2050.

The EU, however, accounts for less than 10 percent of global emissions, so European action alone will not be enough to slow global warming. To keep the global temperature rise as close to 1.5 degrees Celsius as possible, we must support decarbonization efforts beyond our borders. This is why we need a Global Green Deal.

To do this, we have set ourselves three investment priorities. First, we need to make sure that the most advanced clean technologies are adopted everywhere. Despite good progress in deploying renewable energy, 40% of the world’s electricity is still produced by coal, the dirtiest energy source. With economic development comes an increased demand for electricity, and therefore a responsibility to adopt green technological solutions and to connect the world to clean grids.

Europe is ready to invest in everything from green electrification programs in Africa and industrial decarbonization projects in Asia to the deployment of batteries in Latin America. And we have climate adaptation expertise to share, along with flood control technologies, advanced weather forecasting tools, and resilient infrastructure. With both the financial means and the knowledge to support efforts to adapt to climate change, the EIB will use its resources to leverage more private sector investment in this critical area.

Technicians check the status of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels at a photovoltaic station in Wuyi County, north China’s Hebei Province, March 30, 2019. / Xinhua

Technicians check the status of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels at a photovoltaic station in Wuyi County, north China’s Hebei Province, March 30, 2019. / Xinhua

Our second priority is to invest in revolutionary green technologies like never before. Such research and development is both necessary and represents a huge market opportunity. Already, a group of countries representing half of global GHG emissions have adopted “net-zero” targets, and more will surely follow. They will all need European technology and investment to achieve this. Clean hydrogen, offshore renewables and energy storage solutions can all become dynamic EU export sectors.

Finally, we need to embrace the idea of ​​a “circular economy”. As it is, we are taking more of our planet than it can afford to give us, and the effects of this overbreadth will become more and more dramatic and destructive with each passing year. We urgently need to reduce the environmental and carbon footprint of the goods we consume.

To do this, we need to invest in circular technologies that reuse resources, rather than constantly producing or importing new goods and extracting ever more raw materials. The circular economy has enormous potential not only to reduce our dependence on scarce resources, but also to create jobs. As Europe continues to show, the Green Deal is not just an environmental policy; it is an economic and geopolitical necessity.

Five years ago, 196 countries came together and signed the Paris Agreement, pledging to keep the average global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius – but preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius – from its pre-industrial level. To date, this commitment has not yet been matched with sufficient action. It is time to raise our ambitions and accelerate progress. This will be our message to the world at “Investing in Climate Action” on March 24.

We all need to come together – not just governments but also businesses, cities, financial institutions and civil society – to tackle the climate challenge. Europe has the tools, skills and knowledge to lead by example. We need to translate our climate policy leadership into market leadership to ensure a Global Green Deal.

Let’s get to work.

Copyright: Project union, 2021.

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